Gospel-Centered Outreach is at The Heart of Campus Ministry
What is meant by “gospel-centered outreach?” Dave’s story from Hawaii is a good example.
Several years ago Dave, a church pastor, struck up a relationship with the Athletic Director at the local high school. One thing led to another and the AD soon asked Dave if he would serve as chaplain for the football team. He ended up encouraging and praying for the team before every game.
This past year he was asked to serve as chaplain again. The church even helped the team with some of their travel expenses, which blew the coach away. Then Dave took another faith-filled step and offered to host a special service and dinner at his church to “encourage and bless” the team. Many of the coaches, players and their families accepted and the turnout was great. That evening Dave not only prayed for the team, but he also explained how they could know God personally through Jesus Christ, and a number of the students and families responded.
Later in the season after a win, when the players dedicate the game to an outstanding player, they turned the tables. “Pastor!” One of the players said, “We want to THANK YOU… for caring about us, praying for us and giving your time to us.” They dedicated the game to Dave.
Dave is an example of what Gospel-centered outreach is about.
- Campus outreach is a highly relational ministry. Relationships and trust are vital with students, educators and families.
- In the midst of those relationships Dave never lost sight if his priority, and that was introducing people to Jesus Christ. And at the appropriate time and place he introduced students and coaches to the Gospel. Without the Gospel Dave had nothing of eternal value to offer students.
- Dave blended service and truth as he worked with the team. Good deeds and words of truth are a match literally made in heaven, and it is just a matter of asking God for discernment on how to balance the two.
Today, more students in Dave’s community know Jesus because he took steps of faith, used wisdom and related well. That is what campus ministry is about, giving students and families the chance to know and follow Christ.
There is a direct correlation between sharing the gospel and students putting their faith in Christ. How can they believe if no one tells them. Jesus taught that casting the nets is essential if we expect to bring people into the Kingdom. How does that look, and what is appropriate for Christian students, youth leaders and educators in campus ministry? The Campus Ministry OS will help you unpack principles and methods for gospel-centered outreach.
Here is a brief diagnostic…
- Am I fostering an environment with my students and youth leaders that embraces the gospel and models sharing Christ?
- Are the students and youth leaders receiving training to help them relate well and communicate the gospel clearly?
- Are the students and ministry leaders engaging in relationships that lead to conversations about Christ?
- Is there a healthy balance between good deeds and sharing the good news?
- Are students hearing the gospel through personal and target group outreach? Are new students responding positively?